- the year of Crufts in Summer & much more!
could pretend that 2001 has been what could be termed a good year. Then
tragedies of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon,
and the devastating outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK cast
long shadows into all of our lives - and not just those of us involved
in canine activities. But both tragedies served as a stark reminder that
we do not live in a safe, isolated world of our own, and that the concerns
of the outside world do not affect us - they do. Very much. The year 2001
has proved this in no uncertain terms.
out of adversity comes hope, and the unflagging human spirit rises above
all dark times and negative forces. Dogdom, dog owners and dogs themselves
continue in strength and confound the plans of those who would seek to
undermine our freedoms and way of life, or those events which cause so
much devastation around us. There's always the hope that next year, or
even next month, next week will be better. We keep our faith in that.
THE YEAR began with direct action by anti-hunting activists who sought
to cripple one of the country's major hunts. All but four of the entire
51-strong Wye College Beagles Hunt pack were stolen by activists form
the Animal Liberation Front during a raid on the Hunt's kennels in the
early hours of January 5th.
ALF statement claimed that the dogs would be placed in "safe, loving homes",
although pro-hunters derided this claim, saying that the kennel-bred,
working dogs would not adapt to a domestic life. Hunting was back in the
public eye again later in the month when Westminster MPs voted by 387
votes to 174 - a majority of 213 - to instigate a total ban on hunting
with hounds in England and Wales.
stage was set for a showdown with the House of Lords who were expected
to block the legislation or to amend it in favour of hunting by licence.
The Commons vote was overwhelming however, with the proposal for licensing
hunts defeated by a majority of 200, whilst maintaining the status quo
and allowing 'self regulation' by hunts was defeated by the biggest majority
of all, 244.
Meanwhile in Germany, the trial of the owner of a fighting Pit Bull Terrier
which attacked and killed a six year-old boy in Hamburg in June 2000 came
to and end. Ibrahim Kulunc, 24, the son of Turkish immigrants, and well
known to Hamburg police for his criminal activities was found guilty of
causing the death of Volkan Kaja when Kulunc's trained fighting dog 'Zeus'
and its companion, American Stafford 'Gypsy' ran towards the boy as he
played in a school playground. In a shock decision, the trial judge ruled
that Kulunc could not have foreseen his dog's propensity to attack and
thus sentenced him to three and half years' imprisonment.
His girlfriend, Silja Wilms, 19, who was tried under youth laws and had
shown "genuine remorse" for Volkan's death was sentenced to one year's
imprisonment, suspended. The judge's verdict effectively made a nonsense
of the harsh "Fighting Dog" laws enacted by the German Federal Government
and States Governments, insofar that nobody can predict with any certainty
that a particular breed of dog can be dangerous of liable to attack.
This left the way for an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights
against the German dog laws, although such a move would undoubtedly take
time. The future of discredited research laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences
was assured for a further six years, thanks to the 11th hour financial
lifeline from anonymous American source.
The lab had faced closure after the Royal Bank of Scotland, its principal
backer, had withdrawn funding and foreclosed on a substantial loan after
receiving threats form animal rights activists. The Stop Huntingdon Animal
Cruelty (SHAC group had targeted the lab for four years after the shock
revelations in a TV documentary at the way in which staff abused Beagles
kept for experimentation at the facility.
Staff had been abused and physically attacked, leading Cambridgeshire
Police's Chief Constable to say that it was "only a matter of time before
somebody is killed." The Royal Bank of Scotland were so keen to sever
ties with HLS that they wrote off all the facility's debts - estimated
at £11 million - on the strength of a token payment of just £1. Further
debts owed to two American banks totalling a further £11 million were
also met by RBS.
James Pye may have been expecting a big compensation pay day after he
accused two Rottweilers of attacking him whilst he delivered letters to
their owner's home, leading to Mrs Dawn Knight being summonsed under the
1871 Dogs Act. Magistrates at Consett, Co.Durham dismissed the postman's
claims as pie in the sky after they considered all the evidence, including
the fact that Mr Pye had simply been found on his hands and knees in the
lane outside Mrs Knight's house, having simply scraped his hands and knees
on the gravel.
two dogs, Storm and Shadow were still in Mrs Knight's garden and had not
bitten Mr Pye. The postman had taken three days to report the alleged
Kennel Club's Crufts show office announced that entries for the 2001 show
had weighed in at one of the largest ever at 23,229, from 21,554 dogs.
This year's show was eagerly awaited as this would be the first year that
overseas competitors could enter as a result of the new Pets Travel Scheme.
There was sad news, however, at the death of former Crufts Chairman and
Kennel Club Vice President, Sir Dudley Forwood Bart, aged 88. Sir Dudley
and his wife Mary were famous for their Eyeworth kennel of Cavalier King
Charles Spaniels. He had also kept Irish Wolfhounds, Welsh Springers and
Golden Retrievers over the years.
Dudley Forwood Bart - former Crufts Chairman and Kennel Club Vice President
who died in February.
Following on from the proposal to align all regulations relating to the
import of animals into a single piece of legislation, MAFF issued proposals
to update the UK's quarantine rules to ensure "best modern practice" in
the country's 61 quarantine kennels.
proposed statutory instrument, which uses the PETS scheme as its basis,
recognised that quarantine will still be required for animals entering
the UK from countries other than those listed in the PETS scheme as 'rabies-free'.
Specific standards will need to be met at all quarantine premises. New
requirements include the provision of a staff changing area, a cold water
supply to each block of animal pens and larger pens for giant breeds of
dog. Gravel floors will no longer be permitted.
separate animal care room will also have to be provided, with a washable
table for examining animals, a hot and cold water supply, power supply,
lockable cupboard, first aid kit and a detectable light source.
A chocolate labrador named Lucy became the 10,000th pet to use the PETS
scheme and was pictured at the Eurotunnel Terminal in Calais, having been
presented with a special diploma to mark the occasion, along with her
young owners Kyle and Sean Herbert Hunting was back in the news when Angela
Egan, a former RSPCA employee who 'defected' to the pro-hunting Countryside
Alliance denounced the RSPCA's claims that the nation's 22,000 Foxhounds
could be rehomed if hunting was abolished. "I knew these dogs would not
be suitable for rehoming and we [the RSPCA] would not be able to do it,
but that was the party line," said Ms Egan.
a chocolate Labrador, is the 10,000th pet to use the PETS travel scheme
and is seen at the Eurotunnel Terminal in Calais with Kyle and Sean Herbert,
a hunt saboteur who tried to rescue a fox being chased by hounds was nursing
his injured pride in hospital after the fox bit his hand. The German 'Fighting
Dog' laws showed just how brutally they could be enacted, when police
officers in Dortmund gunned down a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross which
allegedly bit a smaller dog in a public park, leaving the wounded animal
to bleed in the street for 40 minutes until a vet administered a lethal
The dog named 'Apollo' is alleged to have run up to Klara Schramma, 60,
as she was walking her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 'Charlie' in the
park. Frau Schramma said that Apollo grabbed the Cavalier and ran off
with him across the park, but that Charlie was unharmed due to he calling
out to him to "play dead."
supposedly confused the larger dog long enough to allow two armed police
officers to approach and pump at least six shots into the animal's body,
using ammunition designed to remain within the body of the target.
least one shot went wide of the dog and hit the wall of an apartment block
bordering the park, narrowly missing a kitchen window where two women
were standing. Dortmund police and the German authorities later erroneously
- and some might say deliberately - described the dog as a Staffordshire
Bull Terrier, in order to add credence to their plans to outlaw that breed
as a dangerous dog.
with Germany, the Federal Government announced its intention to instigate
a total ban on four 'fighting' breeds of dog, namely the American Pit
Bull Terrier, the American Stafford, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and
the Bull Terrier. None of the four breeds would be allowed to be imported
into Germany, or even to cross its territory. This is a direct challenge
to the authority of the European Parliament that allows the free movement
of goods throughout EU member states.
German Ambassador to the UK, Hans Von Plott, bit off far more than he
could chew when he went head-to-head with Canine Behaviourist Mike Mullen
and OUR DOGS' Chief Reporter Nick Mays on BBC Radio West Midlands' Ed
Ambassador tried to justify the German dog laws and even made the Teutonic
faux pas of trying to joke about the war and 'fighting'; breeds' role
in it, which prompted the OUR DOGS man to point out that German Shepherd
Dogs had been used by the Germans during the war and that they currently
headed to bite statistics 'league tables' in Germany, yet somehow were
not included in any lists of 'fighting breeds'. Herr Ambassador must have
been wishing he'd heeded Basil Fawlty's immortal advice: Don't mention
month began with the disquieting news that the outbreaks of Foot and Mouth
reported to towards the end of February had not been "isolated incidents",
but were, in fact, part of a nationwide outbreak which had been under
way for several weeks, thanks to infected animals being transported around
shows began to be cancelled or postponed at an alarming rate, beginning
with the Shropshire Gundog Society Open Show, due to be staged at Oswestry
Agricultural Society Showground on February 25th. The Kennel Club press
office was quick to announce that Crufts was still on, despite the foot
and mouth epidemic, pointing out that the KC was under no pressure from
MAFF to suspend the event.
Jordan - one of the country's top all-rounders passed away
However, the epidemic continued to grow, leading to the cancellation of
WELKS until, finally, the KC yielded to the inevitable and postponed Crufts
one week before the show, moving it to the late May Bank Holiday weekend
of 25th to 28th May. The decision was taken, some believed, as a show
of solidarity with the rest of the dog showing world or perhaps needing
to set an example of leadership.
no leadership or advice was forthcoming from MAFF. Spokesman John Webb
simply said: "MAFF do not have an official position on the staging of
animal shows. We give advice if it is sought, so if a show were to be
held in a field, near an affected area, we would advise against this.
If the show is to be held in a hall in a town, then there's no problem."
Fears that cats and dogs on farms might be culled along with sheep, cows
and pigs are, however, "unfounded" - at least, according to MAFF.
Harrington from MAFF's London press office told OUR DOGS: "Cats and dogs
are unable to contract the disease, although it is possible for them to
spread it on their feet if they walk around in an infected area.
therefore are asking that all dogs are kept indoors and that cats are
restrained as best as possible." Harry Jordan, known to his many friends
as 'Haj' died aged 83 in St Mary's hospital Paddington. Haj was the long-time
stalwart of the Hammersmith Canine Society and, along with the Society's
committee, was well known for engaging overseas judges to all Hammersmith
events and for awarding solid gold medals to winners.
receiving Honorary Life Membership of the KC, Haj judged best in show
at Crufts in 1996, proving himself, as ever, to be a great character.
1991 Dangerous Dogs Act 'celebrated' ten years since its inception, whilst
it's longest-term prisoner, Staffordshire Bull terrier 'Lacey' chalked
up her eight year in secret kennels, having been seized on March 30th
1993 as a pit bull 'type' dog by the Metropolitan Police. Lacey's owner,
Monste Christian, now resident in her native Spain, refused to take advantage
of the 1997 Amendment to the DDA and have Lacey registered as a pit bull
and thus eligible to be freed. After eight long years, an innocent dog's
House of Lords debated the Government's anti-hunting Bill and were promised
a day in Committee to make any recommendations on suggesting possible
amendments to the Bill. Prime Minister Tony Blair had shifted the date
of the pending General Election from May 3rd to June 7th, but was under
pressure from anti-hunting MPs to push the legislation through before
Parliament rose for the election.
vociferous anti-hunting Labour MP Tony Banks declared that 167 Labour
MPs had planned to issue personal election manifestos pledging themselves
to support a ban on hunting after the election if the current Bill failed
to get through in time. In Germany, campaigners fought the repressive
fighting dog laws on a new front - the unwarranted - and possibly illegal
- ban on dogs of certain breeds being carried on public transport in Munich
was the setting for a show trial conducted at the International Court
of Justice for Animal Rights in Geneva. The German Federal Government
and the various States Governments (Lander) stood accused of enacting
unconstitutional and cruel laws against dogs and their owners, despite
many of these laws being clearly against accepted EU laws and human rights
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Government - with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder
singled out for particular censure, alongside Hessen's Interior Minister
Volker Bouffier - was found guilty as charged.
at the Centre International de Conferences in Geneva, the 'trial' was
conducted by the European animal welfare organisation, the Franz Weber
Foundation on a suit filed by the Deutsche Tierschutzpartei - the German
Animal Protection Party - which is an active, recognised political party
in Germany, together with a number of other plaintiffs, mainly registered
from European Animal Defence organisations, experts, jurists and witnesses
from Germany and other parts of Europe attended the trial, together with
a number of journalists and private individuals.
The 'court' was composed of an international jury of nine jurors, all
campaigners and dog experts from Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Austria
and Switzerland together with two judges; Franz Weber himself (Switzerland)
and Dr. Norbert Ch. Schauer, (Austria).
of the most applauded witnesses was Frau Vera Moc-Rosu, the German pensioner
who was arrested by German police officers in February after her dog allegedly
'attacked' a Dachshund whilst she was taking it for a walk.
Moc-Rosu outlined in graphic detail how the police demanded to break into
her flat, but only reluctantly allowed her to unlock the front door, before
they pushed her aside to get at her dog. Given her diminutive stature,
the over-use of force against Frau Moc-Rosu had many of the audience shaking
their heads in disbelief.
later found they had broken a chair, I can only think they had used it
to test whether my dog was aggressive," said Frau Moc-Rosu, her voice
cracking with emotion. "I have suffered psychological damage because of
this. I fear that the police will turn up at any time. I now get up at
5.30 am to walk my dog before people are about. It took me three months
to get my dog back from the police. I am afraid of further persecution."
several hours of evidence, the jury returned to deliver their verdict.
The outcome was never in any doubt; all the accused were found guilty
of racial discrimination against dogs and their owners, violation of dog
owners' constitutional rights and of wanting to export these laws to other
Weber, exuding natural dignity and statesmanship, read the verdict, copies
of which were circulated in French, German and English and which would
be circulated throughout the world. A range of demands to make amends
for these abuses was also added, including the suspension of all breed
lists and the repeal of the Federal law banning four Bull breeds.
German Federal Government's response was an example of Teutonic arrogance
in the extreme; it offered no comment as it did not recognise the legal
validity of the Court.
The House of Lords debated the Governments Hunting With Dogs Bill and
eschewed any attempt at a 'middle way' amendment to allow hunts to be
licensed. The peers threw the Bill out and voted to allow hunting to continue
as it did now, opting for the status quo.
The scene was set for a battle between the Lords and the Commons, with
anti-hunting MPs urging Tony Blair to use the Parliament Act to force
the legislation through. However, legal arguments that to impose a ban
and thus deprive hunt workers of their livelihoods might well contravene
the Human Rights laws - which New Labour had enthusiastically embraced
just weeks earlier - staved off such a confrontation and the Bill died
with the dissolution of Parliament for the General Election campaign.
Hunting was safe again for a little longer.
The month ended on a much happier note, with Crufts being staged according
to plan. After the doom and gloom of the preceding months with so many
shows becoming casualties of foot and mouth, the premier of dog shows,
staged over a glorious Spring weekend was a much needed tonic to gladden
the soul of everyone who attended.
the mainstream media found very little to bitch about, unlike the previous
year, the BBC TV coverage was back to its usual high standard of excellence
- helped greatly by the presence of stand-in presenter Philippa Forrester
- so the show was set fair for success. Sadly, there were some 'casualties'
in the form of many of the 200 dogs entered form overseas, as the change
of date meant that over half of these could not attend.
by Alan V Walker l Best in show at Crufts 2001 show under BIS judge Mrs
Ann Arch was Paul Singleton's
home bred Basenji dog Ch Jethard Cidevant (Zande Weledi ex. Ch Jethard
Unholy Alliance with Chaanrose)
pictured here the famous Keddel Memorial Trophy.
one Italian champion dog very nearly upset the applecart by being placed
as Working Group Winner and contender for Best In Show. Siberian Husky
Int.Ch. Cry Out, handled by Swede Mia Ejerstad drew cheers of admiration
and applause from the largely Working and Terrier breeds audience as she
was paraded around the ring before the judging of BIS.
it was not to be. "Johnny Foreigner" might be allowed to compete at Crufts,
but the Keddel Memorial Trophy stayed firmly within these shores when
judge Ann Arch proclaimed Basenji Ch Jethard Cidevant, bred and owned
by Paul Singleton as Crufts BIS 2001. "Sid" was only the second Basenji
in 25 years to win BIS at a General Championship Show and the first ever
of his breed to win Crufts. And a quieter winner one couldn't hope to
General Election took place on June 7th with another trouncing for the
Conservative Party by New Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who retained
a majority of 168.
was one crumb of comfort for the beleaguered Tories however, when one
of its rising stars managed to wrestle a seat from Labour control with
a massive swing of 9.14%. The seat was Romford, Essex and the candidate
was Andrew Rosindell, aided and abetted by his Union Jack clad Staffordshire
Bull Terrier, 'Spike'. Rosindell and Spike have long been known as champions
of the canine cause.
being a staunch Tory, Rosindell was a vehement opponent of the Major Government's
Dangerous Dogs Act, and played a major role in getting the Act examined
again in Parliamentary circles, and introducing anti-DDA campaigners to
influential political figures. The new member for Romford pledged to "speak
out for dogs" in the corridors of power ad pledged to take Spike along
with him to the State opening of Parliament.
Following the Kennel Club's AGM, two new top positions were filled. Ronnie
Irving was elected Vice Chairman of the KC General Committee, whilst Peter
Mann, the former incumbent of the Vice Chairman's role became Chairman
of the Crufts Committee. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (SSPCA) animal launched its 'First Strike Scotland' campaign
against animal abuse. Using extensive research conducted in the UK and
elsewhere, the campaign highlighted the link between animal cruelty and
violent and abusive behaviour by the perpetrators towards other human
campaign also tied in with joint initiatives with other agencies, including
the police and social services - a positive move forwards for both animal
and human welfare. Still in Scotland, a committee of Scottish MPs recommended
to the Scottish Parliament that the Protection of Wild Mammals (Hunting)
Bill should be scrapped, saying it would be impossible to apply the law
to all forms of hunting with dogs and claiming that the use of terriers
by gamekeepers and Scottish hill packs was often a necessary and humane
form of pest control. MSPs on the Committee voted by six to three in favour
of the recommendation.
Kennel Club's Finance and General Purposes Committee considered dropping
the controversial proposal for the 'eighth group' at Crufts, in which
BIS winners from FCI shows would compete. The committee eventually voted
to abandon the idea, issuing a statement which said that: ".... The International
Group will not now go ahead due to the lack of support from overseas shows..."
However, for an encore, the Crufts team announced that Admission price
for Crufts 2002 - back to its regular March dates - would rise by an average
of 27%. The Home Office's Animal Procedures Committee issued a pronouncement
that the cloning of pets should not be allowed, as this "trivialises"
the science involved and could lead to the production of animals which
are intended as "mere toys or fashion accessories."
Despite this, a growing number of pet owners are still 'banking' samples
of their pets' blood and tissue with 'cloning companies' who hope to clone
the pets when the technology 'becomes available'.
One company charged a competitive rate for this service: £500 for the
samples being taken, £60 a year storage until the technology comes on-line
and a further £2,000 for the actual cloning. On a more positive note relating
to pets' genetics, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition was using a new test
for DNA damage to cats and dogs, known as the Comet Assay test to indicate
whether the animal in question has suffered DNA damage.
results of a two-year study showed that dogs fed on the new Waltham blend
for only two months incurred 26% less DNA damage than dogs eating a conventional
diet. As the month drew to a close, the Government caused outrage amongst
animal enthusiasts in all fancies by announcing its intention to review
whether or not the UK should sign the European Convention for Pet Animals.
The Council of Docked Breeds has previously stated that, if ratified,
the Convention could see the banning of up to 100 breeds of dog and many
breds of cat. The Convention was being considered by the Minister for
Animal Health and Welfare, Elliott Morley.
We also featured exclusive photographs from a staghound kennel which hunts
in the Forest of Compiegne, France the master of which paid tribute to
the English hounds which helped to keep his pack strong and vital.
at the time, Mr Morley said that while he was "sensitive" to the concerns
of animal breeders that some breeds were under threat, he considered parts
of the Convention to be "logical". "If the breeding of some animals is
causing suffering it is an issue to consider" said Mr Morley, The Kennel
Club wrote to Mr Morley to express its concerns over the issue and to
seek clarification on his and the Government's standpoint of the signing
of the Convention.
well as several dog and cat breeds being at risk due to "abnormalities"
of their physique, another clause would seek to ban 'surgical operations
for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other
non-curative purpose', which would see an end to tail docking and the
removal of dew claws.
Mr Morley said he was seeking clarification on some aspects of the Convention
and attempted to give breeders some reassurance, saying: "We are well
aware of the implications to some breeds and are obviously sensitive to
that issue," he said. "The majority of the Convention is fine and we have
no objections to it but we do want to be sure that we are not prohibiting
certain established breeds by signing it."
Minister added that he will "consult widely" on the Convention and seek
the views of the KC and "all mainstream groups" who were "welcome to contact
May's Review of the Year continues next week